What It’s About
And the winner is — Wonder Woman!
Seriously, Israeli actress Gal Gadot (“Furious 7”) makes her first appearance as Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, and steals “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” outright from our two tortured titular characters. She’s mysterious and strong, and we’re intrigued. She also has a smoldering flirtation with Bruce Wayne, which could be developed into a nifty future story arc.
The Dark Knight (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) heroically uphold their reputations — despite the doubts tarnishing their characters, planted by megalomaniac Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who schemes to pit them against each other.
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But it’s obvious, for comic book fans, with the title “Dawn of Justice” that DC Comics is setting up the 2017 and 2019 movies. Snippets of Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) further pique our interest. It’s all about advancing the franchise, taking a page from the Marvel Universe.
This big, bold, bombastic battle royale is a rocky blend of the Gotham City and Metropolis mythologies because the spectacle overtakes the story. Action fans don’t mind, but those who like a good story along with the explosions, will be disappointed. Christopher Nolan raised the bar with “The Dark Knight” trilogy, which is hard to top.
Chris Terrio (“Argo”) was brought on board to spiff up the script, but it’s devoid of humor that is sorely needed — why so serious? And the choppiness is puzzling. Bruce Wayne’s backstory is revealed yet again, but Lex Luthor’s is just patched together through quips. A few dream sequences are downright daffy.
The film’s saving grace is its performances. Affleck is effective as the millionaire playboy turned vigilante while Cavill satisfactorily portrays both Clark Kent and the Superman. They both have the chiseled good looks required, and I look forward to more work by them in these roles. (Is it me, or is anyone else bothered that they have to fight? Why?)
The female contingent is no longer merely damsels in distress, and it’s refreshing. Versatile Amy Adams (“American Hustle”) returns as the fearless Lois Lane, supporting her man and helping to save the day. Steady Diane Lane (“Trumbo”) is back as the strong Martha Kent, and frisky Holly Hunter is a no-nonsense senator. Bravo!
Laurence Fishburne has settled nicely into Perry White, and he has the best lines about the state of print journalism.
Director Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”) has a flair for visuals, and when the scenes resemble graphic novels, the movie has a film noirish quality. But then the computer generated images mayhem gets bigger, louder and longer, and it’s mind-numbing.
What Doesn’t Work
Disappointed by “Man of Steel,” I wanted this movie to be more than flying chunks of concrete. The Doomsday fight was interminable.
The slick blockbuster has its moments, but not as much happens as you hope. It left me wanting more.
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”
- Director: Zack Snyder
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, and Holly Hunter
- Rated PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality)
- 153 minutes